An unwelcome surprise

You may recall I had my annual mammogram early in September and was told the results would be received in about three weeks.
Well, 22 days later I got a letter calling me back.
The bottom dropped out of my world, the letter shook in my hand, and fear raised its head, especially as I had insisted on an appointment way back in March as I was concerned with twinges and heaviness, and assured all was normal.

I tried to read what was written, blurred words about not wishing to cause alarm (they weren’t sitting where I was, and I was sitting by now) and I got straight on the phone.
They could not tell me anything other than there was a significant change from the pictures taken last year and they wanted to see me for an examination and more tests.
My appointment was for October 1st, but we had other things arranged, and the next available appointment wasn’t until the 8th. My nerves wouldn’t take that long a delay, so I explained how far away we were and asked if there was any remote chance they could fit me in the following day. We could be there any time they had free. They promised to call me back as I was an emotional mess by now.

The phone rang some ten minutes later. I answered and put them on to Hubby as I couldn’t talk. They had pulled strings and an appointment was given for the next day at 2pm.
We phoned MSM and asked if she could put us up. Like the trooper and dear friend she is, she didn’t hesitate. We packed an overnight bag and set off at 5.15pm for the 170 mile trip. It took us 3 and a half hours, so we made good time despite lousy traffic and getting stuck behind an HGV we couldn’t overtake anywhere.

We both had a restless night. My Mum came to me in my dreams by way of writing me a letter of all things and in it told me not to worry. I slept a little.
Next day, we were at the clinic a good half hour early. I was seen within 15 minutes and another set of mammogram images were taken of the right breast where I had my surgery three years ago.
I had the A team, but then they are all A teams, and absolutely wonderful. I was able to laugh and joke with the radiologist who told me it was NOT a lump, but calcified tissue of about 8mm including a ‘tail’ and they wanted to investigate further. It was probably nothing, but they were taking no chances in case it was something that could develop into something else and if so, would have to come out.
First thing was an ultrasound and she could see a lot, including where the first core biopsy had been taken and missed in 2016 which is why I had to have a second, but to play safe, wanted to do a deep core biopsy. As the ultrasound imagery wasn’t really adequate for taking the samples she needed, they used X-rays for guidance. I said there was no way my boob would fit in their little plastic box, and laughing she said it was used to frame the site for sample taking. So it was more manipulation and squashing to the plates, then I was given a local anesthetic and away she went with her popping core tool.
I honestly didn’t feel a thing, and she was able to get some excellent samples for testing, results of which will take about ten days.
My right boob is now worth a fortune as they put in a small titanium marker where they’d taken the samples from which is perfectly safe to leave in if I don’t need additional surgery.
I have been given a provisional appointment to see my Consultant Surgeon from 2016 (one of the best in the country) to discuss the results and where we go from there, so once confirmed, it means another trip and MSM is helping us out again with accommodation, bless her. We are so lucky to have such wonderful people in our corner.
We stayed an extra night as it was recommended I didn’t drive, but I did feel less stressed because I knew I was in good hands as Cheltenham is one of the Centres of Excellence for Breast Cancer. The wound was dressed and totally numb, though I could expect bruising and localised pain as the anesthetic wore off for which I could take paracetamol if needed. So far, I’ve been fine.
Hubby was beside himself with worry but feels reassured now and like last time, we are in this together and I won’t be facing it alone. The professionalism of everyone concerned has been excellent, everything has been explained in words we can understand and any questions answered without frills, fussiness, or fancy jargon.
The relief that it’s not another lump and the meds I’m taking couldn’t let one develop anyway, is off the charts. However, it’s not over yet and once again we wait.


I’m posting this as October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
I can only emphasise the importance of getting any lump checked out, in the breast or otherwise actually. Not all lumps mean cancer, but if it is, it can be treated and cured.
Don’t put it off, make a phone call and insist on an appointment.
My personal story is that if I hadn’t lost the weight in 2016 having been put forward for free membership with SW for 12 weeks, we would not have found Humphrey so early, I would not have been treated so quickly (discovery to surgery in 6 weeks), and it could have been a different story.

About pensitivity101

I am a retired number cruncher with a vivid imagination and wacky sense of humour which extends to short stories and poetry. I love to cook and am a bit of a dog whisperer as I get on better with them than people sometimes! We have recently lost our beloved dog Maggie who adopted us as a 7 week old pup in March 2005. We decided to have a photo put on canvas as we had for her predecessor Barney, and now have three pictures of our fur babies on the wall as we found a snapshot of my GSD so had hers done too. From 2014 to 2017 'Home' was a 41 foot narrow boat where we made strong friendships both on and off the water. We were close to nature enjoying swan and duck families for neighbours, and it was a fascinating chapter in our lives. We now reside in a small bungalow on the Lincolnshire coast where we have forged new friendships and interests.
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40 Responses to An unwelcome surprise

  1. I wish you all the best!

  2. Sadje says:

    Oh, Di I am sorry that you had to face this worrying time. Hope the results come back fine. All the best dear friend.

  3. quiall says:

    You are in my prayers!

  4. scifihammy says:

    You poor thing – you must have been in such shock.
    I’m glad that they saw you so quickly and everything was explained. Fingers crossed that it is nothing to worry about and just part of the healing.

  5. Liz says:

    I hope all turns out good for you. Thank you for sharing your story.
    I was interested in learning about the small titanium marker they leave in, where they had taken samples from.

    • Thanks Liz.
      This is in case they operate as it marks where they took the samples from and will save time and ‘hunting’. It’s perfectly safe to stay there if I don’t have surgery. It’s wonderful what they can do now.

  6. colonialist says:

    Scary stuff! The hurry up and wait is the worst part. Distinctly irritating.
    Wishing you all the best!

  7. Hugs. I had a secondary biopsy about 5 years after my bout with breast cancer. Even though the surgeon (an excellent one who only did breast cancer) felt it most likely was cancer, it wasn’t. I had two other “come backs” after a mammogram but but only required a repositioning on the mammo machine and an ultrasound to clear it. I know the agony of the wait. Good luck.

    • Bless you Kate. The radiologist is confident it’s calcification and not a lump, and even more pleased that she actually got a whole piece of the ‘tail’. Just waiting for confirmation of my appointment with my surgeon now. I wouldn’t be surprised to have extra surgery so we’ll go prepared as she doesn’t hang about!

  8. fransiweinstein says:

    Oh Di, I can only imagine, but how incredible that they could and would come up with an immediate appointment for you. So compassionate. You truly are in great hands, you will get through this and I know you will be fine. Positive thoughts!

  9. Oh g-d the fear is real. The way they handle this in the UK is brilliant!

    Here you have to make an appointment for the biopsy.

  10. Being across the wide ocean there’s little I can physically do. So I’ll send big hugs, and healing wishes and the most luck you can stand. There is breast cancer in my family (a maternal aunt and a maternal cousin), and my own mother had a ‘scare’ (it turned out to be a cyst). I’ve never had any children, which apparently puts me in some elevated category for both breast and cervical cancer. This year I felt so lousy most of the time that I neglected my tests. Do share more with me about this heaviness phenomenon you wrote of, because my left breast feels denser to me than the right one, but maybe that’s normal aging? I know I ‘should’ have the tests. I see my GP on the 9th of October and I’m certain she’s going to chew me out because I haven’t had the tests. We’ll see.

    I’m so very glad for you though that they didn’t find the worst. I’m hopeful that the tests will have a further benign outcome. Hugs to you. And hug your Maggie. Doggie love is wonderful in these cases! ❤

    • Hi Melanie
      Thanks for hugs and best wishes.
      Breast cancer runs in my family too….. paternal great grandmother, twin aunts and a daughter (cousin) all sadly no longer with us, but had been cured.
      I never had kids either, so took full advantage of the annual Well Woman checks when I worked for the bank. Had a couple of cysts in the 90s but nothing to worry about until Humphrey.
      The heaviness I felt earlier in the year was in the right breast where I had my surgery. I had twinges too, and thought it was because I’d put on weight and the skin wasn’t so elastic round the scar tissue. I was also exercising playing darts (right handed thrower) so that could account for denser muscle.
      I rang the clinic and asked for an appointment, and apparently I was due for a follow up anyway as it was two years since my surgery. The consultant I saw in March was lovely, but not the one who had done my op (I shall be seeing her next week when confirmed) and she said everything was normal and as she’d expect it to be, so naturally I was a bit shocked to get a recall last week.
      I’m feeling good though. The dressing is off and there’s no puffiness, swelling, redness or bruising, and once again I have healed quickly.
      However my friend, I would definitely mention it to your GP. It could be our age (I’m older than you btw) and changes in the body, but always best to check.
      Hubby and Maggie have been great. She curled up tight beside me last night and didn’t move as we were both in the same position at 7am!
      Will be posting results and outcome in due course. I’m lucky in that I’ve got one of the best in my corner and the attention I received on Friday was second to none.

  11. Jen Goldie says:

    I’m proud of you for posting this. ❤

  12. I sure hope it all works out ok and that it really is just calcified tissue.

    I was supposed to go for a routine mammogram last month, but had that car accident and my right boob was all black-and-blue, so I figured a mammogram probably wasn’t a good idea right then. I’m healed now so can re-schedule, but definitely not looking forward to it.

    • It’s uncomfortable I know and you may still feel tender after your accident, but I think it’s an important check to have.
      I must admit, I never realised I had so much ‘up top’ until it was all splayed out before me!!

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